Reactions and Resignations to Burntollet 1. 2. Mr B Deane Learning Intentions: To gather an understanding of why O’Neill’s own party members went against him. To be aware of the significance of the ‘crossroad’ elections and how O’Neill was forced out of office. More Marches NICRA responded to the events in the North-West by organising more marches. The first march was held in Newry and again this resulted in violence. O’Neill’s Response O’Neill established the Cameron Commission to investigate the increasing violence. This led to two cabinet members including, Brian Faulkner to resign. Faulkner argued that O’Neill was not strong enough to keep control of the situation. Worryingly for O’Neill many of his colleagues were of the same opinion of Faulkner and 12 MPs called for his resignation on January 1969. What next for O’Neill? O’Neill decided to call an election instead of stepping down. He termed these the ‘crossroads election’. He thought that these elections would prove that the public of Northern Ireland were behind his efforts to modernise Northern Ireland. The election took place on 24 February 1969. Unfortunately the result was not what O’Neill had wanted. The Results There was a reduction in Unionist Support and divisions of loyalty among the Unionist MPs elected. There was also little or no evidence of the hoped support from the Catholic voters. O’Neill, who had never before had to face a challenger in his own Bannside constituency, only polled 1400 votes more than his opponent, Ian Paisley. Northern Ireland General Election 1969 Party Candidates Seats Gains Losse s Ulster Unionist 44 36 4 4 Independent Unionist 18 3 3 Labour (NI) 16 2 Nationalist (NI) 9 National Democrats Net Gain/ Loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/- 0 69.2 48.2 269,501 -10.9 0 +3 5.8 15.6 86,052 +15.6 1 1 0 3.8 8.1 45,113 -12.3 6 0 3 -3 11.5 7.6 42,315 -0.6 7 0 0 1 -1 4.6 26,009 -0.1 People's Democracy 8 0 0 0 0 4.2 23,645 +4.2 Independent 4 3 3 1 +2 3.9 21,977 +3.9 Protestant Unionist 5 0 0 0 0 3.8 20,991 +3.8 Republican Labour 5 2 1 1 0 2.4 13,115 +1.4 Liberal 2 0 0 1 -1 1.3 7,337 -2.6 People’s Progressive 1 0 0 0 0 0.5 2,992 +0.5 5.8 3.8 What next for O’Neill O’Neill struggled for the next two months, but his party was now hopelessly divided and with a further deterioration in the political situation caused by increasing violence and confrontation, he resigned on 28 April 1969. As luck would have it, the final nail on his coffin was a series of bombings, which at the time appeared to the work of the IRA but which were actually carried out by Loyalits in an attempt to force O’Neill out of office. As O’Neill later revealed in his autobiography. The bombs had: ‘Quite literally blew me out of office.’ ‘I have tried to break the chains of ancient hatreds. I have been unable to realise during my period of office all that I had sought to achieve.’ A New Leader In the resulting leadership election O’Neill was succeeded by his cousin, Major James Chichester Clark. Chichester Clark had resigned from the government less than a week earlier in protest at O’Neill’s decision to introduce oneman-one-vote in time for the next elections. Then Chichester Clark had argued that the timing of the measure was wrong; now he declared he would continue with O’Neill’s reform campaign. What do you think the reaction of the Nationalist people would have been initially to the resignation of O’Neill? How do you think they would have reacted with the news that his successor would be Chichester Clark? Activities 1. Who won the 1969 General Election in Northern Ireland? 2. Who replaced O’Neill as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland? 3. Construct a timeline showing the main times and issues of division from 1963-69. 4. You are divided into groups. Group one must defend O’Neill and claim that his premiership was a success. On the other hand, group two are claiming that his premiership was a failure. Be aware of the differing political groups that would be involved on each side. Remember Unionists and Nationalists can agree that his reign was a failure but for very different reasons. 5. O’Neill admitted his failure in various interviews. Using all that you have learnt about O’Neill so far, explain whether you believe his premiership was a success or a failure. Provide reasons for your answer. (At least a page answer!) Timeline 1963- Lord Brookeborough resigns- Replaced by Terence O’Neill, despite the lack of support from within his own party. 1964 -Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) formed. The CSJ was the forerunner of the civil rights movement and it began a programme of publicising what it saw as widespread discrimination, in a number of areas of life, against Catholics in Northern Ireland. 14 January 1965- The hand of friendship- Lemass and O’Neill meet face-to-face. Success for the O’Neill and the OUP in the 1965 general elections. September 1966- A plot by backbenchers of the OUP try to oust O’Neill as leader 1967 Jack Lynch visits Northern Ireland 1 February 1967 -The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was formed. The Civil Rights Movement called for a number of reforms one of which was for 'one man, one vote', that is, a universal franchise for local government elections. At the time only rate-payers were entitled to votes, and there were other anomalies to do with additional votes for companies. The association also campaigned for the end to gerrymandering of electoral boundaries. Other reforms pressed for included: the end to perceived discrimination in the allocation of public sector housing and appointments to, particularly, public sector employment; the repeal of the Special Powers Act; and the disbandment of the 'B-Specials' (Ulster Special Constabulary) which was a paramilitary style reserve police force which was entirely Protestant in its makeup. First March took place on 24 August 1968- Tyron towns of Coalisland and Dungannon 5 October 1968 march in Derry banned by the government but NICRA continued. Police use heavy handed tactics to break up the rally. Events caught on camera by RTE. October 1968- The establishment of the People’s Democracy. 9 November O’Neill appears on camera to appeal for calm. 22 November announcement of the five point programme. 1 to 4 January march from Belfast to Derry. Resulting in the ambush at Burntollet on 4 January. January 1969 12 MPs call for the resignation of O’Neill Results in O’Neill calling for elections on 30 January 1969 24 February 1969 elections take place. O’Neill barely wins his constituency. 28 April 1969 O’Neill forced to resign after a series of bombings by Loyalist parlimilitaries (Many thought it was the IRA) May 1 1969 Chichester Clark appointed the new premier Learn the important dates You will be tested on the important dates between 1963-69. Reflection: Have we met our targets? To gather an understanding of why O’Neill’s own party members went against him. To be aware of the significance of the ‘crossroad’ elections and how O’Neill was forced out of office. 1. 2.